Chefs across Memphis are on a mission to help you have a stress-free holiday. They are offering to cook your turkeys, hams, sides and desserts. All you have to do is reheat and serve.
Felicia Willett, chef and owner of Felicia Suzanne’s, came up with the perfect title for her Thanksgiving take-home offerings — Operation Turkey Day.
“The holidays are already stressful,” Willett said. “Why not let someone else help? In my family, everyone brings a dish.”
If you order from her, she has one requirement. “You must take all the credit,” she said with a smile.
At the holidays, Willett sells some of her restaurant’s most popular dishes as well as some of her traditional family recipes, all in disposable containers so you can reheat them in your own serving pieces.
Sweet potato casserole at Felicia Suzanne's Restaurant downtown Memphis. The restaurant is prepping meals for their Operation Turkey Day, allowing customers to skip holiday meal creation in favor of a restaurant spread. (Photo: Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal)
She started her Operation Turkey Day Thanksgiving menu several years ago after an auction for the Memphis Farmers Market.
“I auctioned off a turkey dinner at their annual Farm Fest fundraiser, and the next thing I knew, more people were asking me to cook dishes for them,” she said.
In addition to sides, Willett also offers a “Turkey Prep” option. After realizing how many of her clients weren’t 100 percent sure how to roast a turkey, she decided she needed to help.
“We dry brine your turkey for you,” she said. “For the traditional version, I add salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary and butter. I also offer a spicy version, which is where I add my Flo’s Pickled Jalapenos to the mix.”
Felicia Willett, chef and owner of Felicia Suzanne's, works in the kitchen of her restaurant in downtown Memphis. The restaurant is prepping meals for their Operation Turkey Day, allowing customers to skip holiday meal creation in favor of a restaurant spread. (Photo: Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal)
And the key ingredient to all her offerings: her cellphone number.
“I give out my cellphone number when you pick up your order in case you have any questions Thanksgiving morning,” she said.
Several other Memphis-area chefs are also happy to help make your Thanksgiving and holiday entertaining less stressful.
“The holidays can be overwhelming with family and friends in town, cleaning, running errands, trying to entertain and cooking to boot," said Ernie Mellor, chef and owner of Hog Wild – Real Memphis Barbeque & A Moveable Feast Catering. "Our Thanksgiving items take the hassle of cooking and cleaning the kitchen. Your guests will rant and rave over ‘your’ home-cooked meal.”
Cedric Gardner works on a pot of BBB Greens, named for the bacon, brown sugar and Budweiser that are used as ingredients with the collard greens at Felicia Suzanne's in Memphis. (Photo: Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal)
Bradford Williams of Curb Side Casseroles points out that just because you're ordering dishes from someone doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy your traditional favorites.
“The benefit is a stress-free Thanksgiving weekend, but you are still serving timeless family food,” Williams said.
As baking takes a lot of time and oven space, desserts are a great item to supplement.
“When you order holiday treats from Muddy's Bake Shop, you're choosing to share a piece of our local Memphis community with the people gathered at your table. And because we bake everything fresh using ingredients we're excited to share, it means that we're making desserts you can feel proud to serve the families and friends you love,” said Kat Gordon, owner of Muddy’s Bake Shop. “We strive to make our treats outrageously delicious, and we're honored to be included at so many meaningful gatherings around this time of year.”